Cascade + Bond of Agony Interaction

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MTG-Fan had said that a lot of people on The Source were talking about the interaction between Cascade and Bond of Agony.

I don't believe it to be true, but this is what was said:

MTG-Fan;18731407 wrote:
Ok, so numerous people on The Source are talking about the way Cascade interacts with [C]Bond of Agony[/C].

You can Cascade into Bond and pay any amount of life without paying extra mana. If your life total is higher than your opponent's, you win on the spot.

If it is true, I'd like to know. But I sincerely doubt it. This is my theory:

NexusNik;18737228 wrote:
I would venture a guess that the Bond of Agony doesn't work that way. The additional cost is tied to the converted mana cost. First you'd pay the cmc (cascaded into would equal zero), then the additional cost which must be what you paid into the converted mana cost of X (which is zero), then each other player loses that much life (which is zero). I could very well be wrong, but thats how I see the rulings. Because X always equals zero if you don't play it from your hand. Otherwise this card would have been abused forever ago. Pay 1 black and x life to make each player lose 19 life, or what have you.

I believe we are still awaiting an official answer. See this thread in the Rules Issues forum for the discussion.
I would venture a guess that the Bond of Agony doesn't work that way. The additional cost is tied to the converted mana cost. First you'd pay the cmc (cascaded into would equal zero), then the additional cost which must be what you paid into the converted mana cost of X (which is zero), then each other player loses that much life (which is zero). I could very well be wrong, but thats how I see the rulings. Because X always equals zero if you don't play it from your hand. Otherwise this card would have been abused forever ago. Pay 1 black and x life to make each player lose 19 life, or what have you.

I believe your theory here is correct. The part of Bond of Agony's additional casting cost of paying X life is the same X as is in the mana casting cost of the card. However, I would wait for some Bond of Agony guru to come along and confirm .
MTG-Fan had said that a lot of people on The Source were talking about the interaction between Cascade and Bond of Agony.

I don't believe it to be true, but this is what was said:

If it is true, I'd like to know. But I sincerely doubt it. This is my theory:

I would venture a guess that the Bond of Agony doesn't work that way. The additional cost is tied to the converted mana cost. First you'd pay the cmc (cascaded into would equal zero), then the additional cost which must be what you paid into the converted mana cost of X (which is zero), then each other player loses that much life (which is zero). I could very well be wrong, but thats how I see the rulings. Because X always equals zero if you don't play it from your hand. Otherwise this card would have been abused forever ago. Pay 1 black and x life to make each player lose 19 life, or what have you.

Whether it actually works or not is actually [thread=1189841]somewhat up in the air right now[/thread]. However, your understanding of the situation is off. X does not depend on what you pay. What you pay depends on the value you choose for X. Now, with most cards, if you're not paying the mana cost, there's a rule that would make you choose 0 as the value for X. However, the specific wording of the rule makes it somewhat unclear if it applies or not:[indent]If you're playing a spell that has {X} in its mana cost, the value of X isn't defined by the text of that spell, and an effect lets you play that spell without paying any cost that includes X, then the only legal choice for X is 0.[/indent]Since here, you are still paying a cost that includes X. Anyway, there's nothing more to be said until we get an official ruling.

Edit: Also, Cascade does not affect the CMC. Converted mana cost is always based only on the mana cost, which is always only the symbols in the upper right of the card. Even if you're playing a spell without paying its mana cost, its CMC is still a value equal to the total amount of mana represented by the symbols in its mana cost.
I just pulled this from the comprehensive rules. Perhaps it will be of some use:

If a spell or activated ability has a cost with an “{X}” in it, and the value of X isn’t defined by the text of that spell or ability, the controller of that spell or ability chooses and announces the value of X as part of playing the spell or ability. (See rule 409, “Playing Spells and Activated Abilities.”) While the spell or ability is on the stack, the {X} in its mana cost equals the announced value.
I just pulled this from the comprehensive rules. Perhaps it will be of some use:

If a spell or activated ability has a cost with an “{X}” in it, and the value of X isn’t defined by the text of that spell or ability, the controller of that spell or ability chooses and announces the value of X as part of playing the spell or ability. (See rule 409, “Playing Spells and Activated Abilities.”) While the spell or ability is on the stack, the {X} in its mana cost equals the announced value.

But if I play Memory Plunder targeting Banefire I could announce 100 for example. When Memory Plunder resolves X is defined as 0, no need to announce. This is my understanding.

# 502.85.Ruling.9 - When you play a card without paying its mana cost, you any X in its cost must be zero and you cannot use alternate costs (such as with Morph), but you can pay optional additional costs, such as Conspire. [Alara Reborn FAQ 2009/04/30]

What does mean "you any X in"?

Regards,

- Dehumanizer
But if I play Memory Plunder targeting Banefire I could announce 100 for example.

Announce "100" for what?
When Memory Plunder resolves X is defined as 0, no need to announce. This is my understanding.

When you play Banefire without paying its mana cost, the only legal choice for X is 0.
No, I am not a judge. That's why I like to quote sources such as the rules that trump judges.
Announce "100" for what?

It is an allusion for "If a spell or activated ability has a cost with an “” in it, and the value of X isn’t defined by the text of that spell or ability, the controller of that spell or ability chooses and announces the value of X as part of playing the spell or ability" as stated above by reddaemon.

Regards,

- Dehumanizer
It is an allusion for "If a spell or activated ability has a cost with an “” in it, and the value of X isn’t defined by the text of that spell or ability, the controller of that spell or ability chooses and announces the value of X as part of playing the spell or ability" as stated above by reddaemon.

Regards,

- Dehumanizer

Again, what spell?

It can't be Memory Plunder; that has no cost with an "" in it.
And it can't be the Banefire in this case, because the only legal choice for X is 0.
No, I am not a judge. That's why I like to quote sources such as the rules that trump judges.
Why is this an issue?

X
Many cards use the letter X as a placeholder for a number that needs to be determined. All instances of X on an object have the same value.

If a spell or activated ability has a cost with an "{X}" in it, and the value of X isn't defined by the text of that spell or ability, the controller of that spell or ability chooses and announces the value of X as part of playing the spell or ability. (See rule 409, "Playing Spells and Activated Abilities.") While the spell or ability is on the stack, the {X} in its mana cost equals the announced value. If you're playing a spell that has {X} in its mana cost, the value of X isn't defined by the text of that spell, and an effect lets you play that spell without paying any cost* that includes X, then the only legal choice for X is 0. This doesn't apply to effects that only reduce a cost, even if they reduce it to zero. See rule 409, "Playing Spells and Activated Abilities."

The relevant parts are in bold. The phrase "any cost" is singular, meaning any one cost - as in, if there is a cost with X in it that you are not paying, X must equal zero. In order for the combo to work, the phrasing would have to be worded "any costs", with an "s", denoting the plural form of the word.

Since we are not paying one of the costs including X, the condition is satisfied for the rules to restrict X to zero. The presence of the additional cost of X life is not even relevant at this point, since the phrasing of the rules indicates a singular cost. And since all instances of X must be the same, and the X that you are not paying must equal zero, then all instances of X must equal zero.
If it were legal to play Banefire for any amount off a cascade, there would be a LOT more games ending on turn two.

Turn 1: Forest, Birds.
Turn 2: Mountain, Violent Outburst -> Banefire for 20.
Since we are not paying one of the costs including X, the condition is satisfied for the rules to restrict X to zero.

If that were the intended meaning, then The Shoals couldn't ever work for their alternative cost, since you are not paying one of the costs including X (namely, the mana cost) in that case.
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Again, what spell?

Banefire. I reiterate the only legal choice for X is 0. The statement "...and the value of X isn't defined by the text of that spell or ability, the controller of that spell or ability chooses and announces the value of X.." alone implies you could announce X without paying the mana cost and get away with that.

But please read again my original post, I never said X was anything other than 0.

Regards,

- Dehumanizer
But please read again my original post, I never said X was anything other than 0.

Then what is the "100" you mentioned?
No, I am not a judge. That's why I like to quote sources such as the rules that trump judges.
The Shoals work under the rules for alternative costs.

409.1b If the spell or ability is modal (uses the phrase "Choose one ?," "Choose two ?," "Choose one or both ?," or "[specified player] chooses one ?"), the player announces the mode choice. If the player wishes to splice any cards onto the spell (see rule 502.40), he or she reveals those cards in his or her hand. If the spell or ability has a variable cost that will be paid as it's being played (such as an {X} in its mana cost), the player announces the value of that variable at this time. If the spell or ability has alternative, additional, or other special costs that will be paid as it's being played (such as buyback, kicker, or convoke costs), the player announces his or her intentions to pay any or all of those costs (see rule 409.1f). You can't apply two alternative methods of playing or two alternative costs to a single spell or ability. If a cost that will be paid as the spell or ability is being played includes hybrid mana symbols, the player announces the nonhybrid equivalent cost he or she intends to pay. Previously made choices (such as choosing to play a spell with flashback from his or her graveyard or choosing to play a creature with morph face down) may restrict the player's options when making these choices.

It's not quite the same as an effect allowing you to play the card without paying it's mana cost (such as Isochron Scepter or a card with Cascade). It's an actual, optional cost of playing the card. That makes it different somehow. Admittedly the rules are muddy on alternative costs and X, but I think the intent is very clear in this case.

Additionally:
Additional Cost
Some spells have additional costs listed in their text. These are paid at the same time the player pays the spell's mana cost. See rule 409, "Playing Spells and Activated Abilities."

What happens if you are not paying the mana cost? :O
Then what is the "100" you mentioned?

The announce of X, for a hypothetical situation where the player could be misled by that statement alone in the rules. I apologize for any confusion.

Regards,

- Dehumanizer
MTG-Fan had said that a lot of people on The Source were talking about the interaction between Cascade and Bond of Agony.

I don't believe it to be true, but this is what was said:



If it is true, I'd like to know. But I sincerely doubt it. This is my theory:

It would work if bond of agony's text said "pay any amount of life" But it doesn't .So I'm guessing you may only pay 0.
The Shoals work under the rules for alternative costs.


In this case the alternative cost takes precedence over the mana cost, and the cost for X is actually still being paid, although with a card rather than with mana.

There's still a perfectly straightforward sense in which there is a cost with "X" that isn't being paid, though. This business of "taking precedence" is your own interpretation of that rule.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
It would work if bond of agony's text said "pay any amount of life" But it doesn't .So I'm guessing you may only pay 0.

You definitely can still pay additional costs for spells you Cascade up, in ordinary cases. The question here is whether the rules for how "X" and "Pay this without paying its mana cost" interact constrain this particular cost.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
we can't pay additional cost for a spell since it is said in the cascade rules anyways since we are not paying the mana cost for the spell when cascade comes into play. There are few exception to this rule but the bond will not work since you need to cast it without the cascade.
we can't pay additional cost for a spell since it is said in the cascade rules anyways since we are not paying the mana cost for the spell when cascade comes into play.

This is wrong on many levels. Cascade only replaces the mana cost with an alternative cost. Additional costs are still applicable. Also, Cascade is a keyword; it does not "come into play."

the bond will not work since you need to cast it without the cascade.

Whether that is so is the very matter of the current debate. Merely stating it as a truth does not make it true.
DCI Level 2 Judge Please use autocard when you ask a question about specific cards: [c]Serra Angel[/c] -> Serra Angel
we can't pay additional cost for a spell since it is said in the cascade rules anyways

This is not correct.

If you play a spell by Cascading into it, you are still obligated to pay mandatory additional costs (say, sacrifice an artifact for Shrapnel Blast) and may pay optional additional costs (such a Buyback or Kicker). Nowhere in the rules of Cascade doe it say anything otherwise.
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I still say that playing Bond of Agony off of cascade the x in the additional cost is equal to the x in the casting cost, which is a forced zero. When multiple x's appear on the same card, they are almost always the same variable. This is proven by cards such as Aspect of Wolf and Bioplasm
I still say that playing Bond of Agony off of cascade the x in the additional cost is equal to the x in the casting cost, which is a forced zero. When multiple x's appear on the same card, they are almost always the same variable. This is proven by cards such as Aspect of Wolf and Bioplasm

The question is whether X is forced to be 0 or not. As part of playing the spell, you choose a value for X, which is the value used for X for any of the spell's costs or effects until it leaves the stack. If none of the costs you pay include X, then you can only choose 0. What's unclear is what happens in the Bond of Agony case where you are still paying X life, despite not paying the X in the mana cost - that is still waiting an official ruling to clarify the ambiguous phrasing of the rules.
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I still say that playing Bond of Agony off of cascade the x in the additional cost is equal to the x in the casting cost, which is a forced zero. When multiple x's appear on the same card, they are almost always the same variable. This is proven by cards such as Aspect of Wolf and Bioplasm

That works under the assumption that what you pay determines the value of X. This is not the case, and without the rule that's currently in dispute (as far as what it means), X in the casting cost could be any variable you chose. The issue here is that, if you are paying some X cost, can you choose a non-zero value for X?

If you can choose a non-zero value for X, then the X in the casting cost will match that X, even if you don't pay that particular X cost.
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X=0 you can only pay 0 life or not play the spell. Easy as that.
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It would be nice if the little matters like this were worked out fully before the cards were released for general mayhem...
It would be nice if the little matters like this were worked out fully before the cards were released for general mayhem...

People just aren't thinking. there is nothing to work out.
x=0.

To play the bond you have to pay the mana, pay the life, then it does it's thing.

If x=0 you paid no mana. therefore you can only pay 0 life. It doesn't work.

It's quite simple when you think about it.
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X=0 you can only pay 0 life or not play the spell. Easy as that.

Short answer: there is no answer right now. Ask your Head Judge how they want to treat it. They may very well agree with you, but don't be too surprised if they don't. If you would like to understand why there is no answer right now, read [thread=1189841]this thread[/thread] in the [forum=934]Rules Issues[/forum] forum. If not, just accept that there is no right answer at the moment.
It would be nice if the little matters like this were worked out fully before the cards were released for general mayhem...

This issue has been around for a long time, and the answer has changed at least once before. Word is that the current rules team is figuring out how they want it to work.
This issue has been around for a long time, and the answer has changed at least once before. Word is that the current rules team is figuring out how they want it to work.

That's my point. The rules team should have had any and all possible interactions accounted for and answered before the cards were released.
502.85a Cascade is a triggered ability that functions only while the spell with cascade is on the stack. "Cascade" means "When you play this spell, remove cards from the top of your library from the game until you remove a nonland card whose converted mana cost is less than this spell's converted mana cost. You may play that card without paying its mana cost. Then put all cards removed from the game this way that weren't played on the bottom of your library in a random order."

* If you play a card "without paying its mana cost," you can't pay any alternative costs, such as evoke or the alternative cost provided by the morph ability. If it has X in its mana cost, X must be 0. However, you can pay optional additional costs, such as conspire, and you must still pay mandatory additional costs, such as the one on Goldmeadow Stalwart.

http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1180889

There is your answer right there.

The X here is mandantory to play. Your life, Thus you can pay as much as you have life. Even if the converted mana cost would end up as 20. Technically it will resolve as 0.
That's my point. The rules team should have had any and all possible interactions accounted for and answered before the cards were released.

This is a complicated game, and so they can't possibly get everything working PERFECTLY before they release something. Close to it? Yes. Perfect? No.
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The X here is mandantory to play. Your life, Thus you can pay as much as you have life. Even if the converted mana cost would end up as 20. Technically it will resolve as 0.

This is wrong. If you can choose a non-zero X because of the additional cost, the converted mana cost will (in your example) be 21. Not , but 21. (Converted mana cost is a number and has no type or color of mana.)
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People just aren't thinking. there is nothing to work out.
x=0.

To play the bond you have to pay the mana, pay the life, then it does it's thing.

If x=0 you paid no mana. therefore you can only pay 0 life. It doesn't work.

It's quite simple when you think about it.

Please stop presuming to understand the rules. You obviously don't. What you pay into the mana cost does not affect what you choose for X, so not paying anything into the mana cost has nothing to do, directly, with why X=0 in most cases. Without the rule that specifically says otherwise, you could Cascade into Blaze and choose X=.

The question here is, since you are paying some cost that includes X, do or do not the rules preclude you from choosing some non-zero value for X? That is, is the rule meant to mean 'as long as you pay any X cost, you can choose some value for X' or is it meant to mean 'as long as the effect letting you play the spell includes paying an X as part of the effect's resolution, you can choose some value for X (and if not, X=0)'?
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That's my point. The rules team should have had any and all possible interactions accounted for and answered before the cards were released.

There are a lot of cards out there; trying to figure out every possible interaction would result in paralysis, especially when you consider that people come and go from their jobs on the rules team--it isn't as if there had always been a single rules lead with a single concept of how the rules should work. They also have to incorporate the crazy things R&D wants to try out, which would distort any such constant vision. In short, it's a tough job, and they do a pretty good job; having no answer to a question is rare.
Please keep the discussion civil and on topic, do not make any personal attacks or flame others for their thoughts.
Please keep the discussion civil and on topic, do not make any personal attacks or flame others for their thoughts.

I do apologize for the flame, but it was not for his thoughts. It was for his presumption to berate the rules team for missing something that isn't seen all that often (how many cards with an X cost have it somewhere besides their mana cost?), as if he was better than they. I will refrain from such in the future, though.
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I do apologize for the flame, but it was not for his thoughts. It was for his presumption to berate the rules team for missing something that isn't seen all that often (how many cards with an X cost have it somewhere besides their mana cost?), as if he was better than they. I will refrain from such in the future, though.

Apology accepted. There was no presumption or beratement on my part. Just a statement of my opinion.
Apology accepted. There was no presumption or beratement on my part. Just a statement of my opinion.

You might not have intended presumption, but the very act of saying that the rules team should catch everything before cards are printed is, in and of itself, presumptuous.

Back to the topic...
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I do apologize for the flame, but it was not for his thoughts. It was for his presumption to berate the rules team for missing something that isn't seen all that often (how many cards with an X cost have it somewhere besides their mana cost?), as if he was better than they. I will refrain from such in the future, though.

No, you apologize not for flaming my thoughts but for flaming what you presumed I presumed about the rules team. When my original statement was based on logic in conclusion. I don't know all the rules. As an observer I would like to think that if x=0 You can only pay 0 life. My opinion had in no way shape or form bias towards the rules team. Just towards people who complicate things because they are incapable of thinking with a little common sense.
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You might not have intended presumption, but the very act of saying that the rules team should catch everything before cards are printed is, in and of itself, presumptuous.

Back to the topic...

As is you having to have the last word on it? Your opinion.

It was only my opinion. Things are not perfect. They never will be, but they should be.